What is a Dark Kitchen?
Dark kitchens, also known as ghost or cloud kitchens, are professional areas in which food is prepared and packaged with the purpose of takeaway/delivery only. The business will operate from the kitchen alone meaning that there are no dining or waiting areas.
Why has there been a rise in Dark Kitchens?
The number of dark kitchens has soared over the last two years due to impacts of the pandemic. Data shows that the North of England has seen the largest growth, with Leeds seeing a 100% increase in this type of business since 2020. Opening dark kitchens has allowed businesses to expand to new areas without the attached high costs found at high street or city premises, making these new-style food businesses a much more cost effective solution.
Favoured locations for dark kitchens are typically more satellite residential areas, where a high demand for delivery can be seen, and rent usually less expensive than a city or town. Popular central city locations such as London also see many dark kitchens, where the rent for a dine-in restaurant premise is substantially higher, but the demand for varied cuisine is still present.
The benefits of running a Dark Kitchen
As previously stated the cost to operate a dark kitchen opposed to a physical restaurant is significantly cheaper. You will have less overheads to consider, dark kitchens are reduced investment and lower risk.
No specific location is necessary
Finding the perfect location for customers to want to dine in is no longer a concern with dark kitchens, as customers will get to experience the same great tasting food from the comfort of their home. Your brand’s online presence is the only concern, meaning you can re-distribute your money elsewhere, such as looking after your staff or investing into an online ordering solution to streamline your orders to the kitchen.
Greater flexibility and adaptability
Dark kitchens hold the ability to make changes to their menus, ingredients, allergens etc. with minimal time and costs. This process is also sped up as staff will not need to be updated or regularly re-trained to advise customers as all changes can be easily updated and communicated online, particularly an online ordering service. The same goes for advertising online. Dark kitchens can re-brand and change up their marketing at the drop of a hat as there is no physical space they have to worry about updating.
Reduced waiting times
Waiting times seen in restaurants during peak periods is completely eradicated as customers waiting for their orders without needing to be seated. This relieves pressure on the kitchen and allows staff to work more effectively. With an online ordering solution, businesses can easily manage their ordering volume to guarantee their delivery process remains smooth.
How to set up a successful Dark Kitchen
Define the concept for your kitchen
For your dark kitchen to be successful you must ensure you have fully defined your brand and the audience you will be targeting. This is the key to success, as your online presence is the main way to establish brand awareness, and reach your target customer.
Choose your premises
The location you choose is not what will attract customers to your business. Save costs and find a premise that gives you a good reach for customers, with ease for delivery.
Refine your menu to optimise delivery
For dark kitchens it is essential that you refine your menu as not all good food travels well. Dishes on your menu will need to be considered with their journey to the customer in mind – whether this be in a car or even on the back of a motorbike or bicycle. Using an app and website provider, such as App4, will allow you to integrate your orders with a delivery service.
Launch your brand
Now it is time to launch your dark kitchen. To attract customers plan out a campaign to market your dark kitchen. This could be in the form of a loyalty program as they work effectively to incentivise customers to repeatedly order from your business. Using a trustworthy online solution for your business can allow you to easily change and update offers and loyalty schemes, if you decide to put them in place.
How can App4 support Dark Kitchens?
App4 can provide a complete digital store front, including a mobile app and fully branded website with ordering service. By partnering with App4, you can take advantage of the marketing and social media marketing assistance, tailored to your business. We can also assist with logo and menu designs via our in-house design team.
Using your own online ordering solution will allow you to change and update your menu with ease ensuring that your system remains branded and professional. This will allow your customers to order directly from you whilst also enabling you to put a personality to the business.